Summary: What are you to do with your life? It is to be a sacrifice to God. But your sacrifice leads to life not death!
“A Living Sacrifice”
1. The concept of justification by faith only is often taught from the letter written to the Romans.
2. We know that we show our faith by our actions, James 2:14ff.
3. “Therefore” here refers to the entire doctrine taught in Romans of being justified by faith.
4. We are justified by faith; James 2 adds work on our part as part of the formula for salvation.
5. In the Old Testament book of Leviticus chapters 1-7, their main actions listed there were many sacrifices.
6. Hebrews 10:4 says, “It is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.”
7. Jesus is our sin offering.
8. What do we do after baptism?
-Romans 12:1 says:
I beseech (urge) you brethren, by the MERCIES of God that you present yourself a LIVING SACRIFICE, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
TRANSITION: Our lives, not a bull’s death, become the only sacrifice we can make that is acceptable to God.
I. Our sacrifice has God’s mercy as its basis.
A. Mercy here means to feel sympathy with the misery of another that manifests itself more often in action not words.
1. To keep from inflicting harm
3. Akin to grace, “unmerited favor”.
B. We are all guilty of sin, Romans 3 tells us.
1. Sin separates us from God.
2. This is the misery that God’s mercies reach out to.
C. Even unintentional sin according to Numbers 15:22ff.
D. Romans 3:25ff tells us that Jesus is the answer to our sin.
E. His grace is what saves us.
1. Some over emphasize grace.
a. “Say this prayer and you will be saved”
b. “Only believe ministries”
2. We tend to under emphasize grace.
a. We are saved by God’s free gift of grace. (Romans 5:15)
b. That is through obedient faith
1) Romans 1:18, God’s wrath comes out against the unrighteous.
2) James 2, Righteousness requires both faith and works.
II. Our sacrifice has a negative meaning.
A. Verse 2 says, “Do not be conformed”.
1. Don’t fit into the mold or pattern of the world.
2. “Look out for #1”, “If it feels good, do it”, “I’m gonna take care of me and mine.”
B. Don’t follow the pattern of this world.
1. Ephesians 2:1ff, If we walk as those in the world we are dead.
2. I Corinthians 7:31 tells us that this world is passing away.
3. 1 John 2:17 says that those who follow the world are dead, but those who do the will of God abide forever.
C. Pressure to conform starts early in life.
1. Teachings in school of a get- ahead mentality, evolution, and homosexuality start in kindergarten.
2. Peer pressure gets stronger and stronger as years pass by.
a. Kids down the road want your kids to ride on the road.
b. Then they sneak cigarettes.
c. Then they sneak a beer.
d. Then they sneak a joint.
e. Before we are ready, sex, drugs, and all sorts of evil press in on our kids before they are even 15-16 years old.
D. This pressure does not stop when you get out of school.
1. You face dirty jokes at work.
2. You face foul language among colleagues.
3. Christians must face this pressure, and remain strong.
E. Even you know it’s wrong outside, and still conform outside.
F. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 tells us to “avoid every form of evil”. Some translations say “avoid the very appearance of evil”.
TRANSITION: How do we do that?
III. There is a positive meaning to our sacrifice.
A. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
B. Transformed in Greek is pronounced metamorpho’-o. From this word we get our word metamorphosis.
C. It means made into a different form.
D. How are we transformed then? How do we become a different form?
1. When we present ourselves as “living sacrifices”
a. The imagery and terminology here is the same as when the priest of the first-century walked up the steps of the altar to make a sacrifice.
b. Upon becoming a sacrifice the lamb dies, we come to life.
E. What do you sacrifice?
1. More than just your physical body.
2. The word “be” indicates that your new life comes passively.
a. This means that it is not done by you, but to you.
b. God does the transforming.
3. It is done by the “renewing of your mind”.
a. 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul tells Timothy to, “Study to show yourself approved…”
b. Philippians 4:8 says we are to think on things that are good and noble, “…if there is any virtue or praise, think on these things.”
c. Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
d. Remember the song, “Oh be careful little eyes what you see…”